The ruling Congress has swept the polls for 22 zila parishad and 150 panchayat samitis in the state by winning 94 per cent of the zila parishad and 81 per cent of the panchayat samiti seats.

In the final results announced on Sunday by the State Election Commission (SEC), Congress won majority of seats by winning 331 of 353 zila parishad seats and 2351 of 2899 panchayat samitis seats.

Disclosing this here, an official spokesperson of the SEC said while Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) failed to win a single seat in polls for 22 zila parishads, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) won 18, Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) won two and two seats were won by others.

The spokesperson further said that out of total 2899 zones of 150 panchayat samitis, 235 candidates of Congress have won, whereas 20 candidates of AAP, 353 candidates of SAD, 63 of BJP and 112 seats were won by others.

Hailing the Congress victory, the Chief Minister (CM) Amarinder Singh said it shows the confidence of the party workers and the people in his government. “It’s a total sweep,” he said while commenting on the poll results.

Dismissing the Opposition charge of booth capturing and misuse of official machinery in order to swing the results in Congress’ favor, the CM said the losing parties were making such allegations as an excuse for their defeat and as a cover up their unpopularity.

Amarinder said the SAD’s unpopularity can be gauged from the fact that the party lost the panchayat samiti seat in Akali Dal president Sukhbir Badal’s constituency and SAD candidate won a seat in former CM Parkash Singh Badal’s constituency by polling just three votes more than the Congress.

Earlier on Saturday, the CM had hailed the Congress victory as yet another endorsement of his government’s policies and programmes, and a total rejection of the Opposition’s malicious campaign against the ruling dispensation.

Pointing out that this was the fourth consecutive humiliating defeat of the SAD-BJP combine, after back to back victories for the Congress in the State Assembly, Urban Local Bodies, Gurdaspur Parliamentary and Shahkot Assembly by-polls, the CM termed it a vindication of his party’s efforts to bring the state out of the quagmire of devastation into which it had been plunged by the previous SAD-BJP government.

Trashing the Akali Dal’s allegations of booth capturing by the Congress, Amarinder said it was the SAD, on the contrary, which had stooped to all kind of hooliganism to try and derail the poll process.

The sweeping victory of the Congress Party in these polls had once again demonstrated that sectarian politics had no place in a democratic polity, said the CM, adding that the people’s poll verdict in favour of the ruling party was a befitting lesson to the Akalis for their decade-long misrule in the state.